Coroner To Decide Scope of Alice Investigation

Why didn't police know about Zalkalns murder conviction?

Related Links

Carnival Raises Thousands For Alice

Family 'Thanks' for Celebrating Alice

Alice Gross's Sister and Mum on 50k Challenge

In Her Memory

Police Would Have Charged Zalkalns


Sign up for our free newsletter

Comment on this story on the m

The family of murdered Hanwell teenager, Alice Gross, want to know why police didn't have information about her killer's previous murder conviction.

The 14-year-old's body was found in the River Brent, in September.

Arnis Zalkalns, the chief suspect, had murdered his wife in Latvia, and after serving a jail sentence travelled to the UK in 2007.

The human rights organisation Liberty, which is representing Alice's family, has asked the coroner to consider whether the case is covered by Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights - the Right to Life.

A spokesman for Liberty said: "It appears the British authorities were not aware of [Zalkalns'] conviction.

"In 2009, he was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault on a teenage girl in London but charges were not brought and he was released.

"Alice's family wishes to know how it can be that - within EU member states - basic information-sharing cannot be arranged to ensure authorities are notified of the presence of people who pose a potentially high risk to the public."

Police confirmed their belief that Zalkalns, who had been working on a building site in Isleworth, was responsible for Alice's murder. He was found hanged in woodland in Boston Manor Park.

The Crown Prosecution Service said he would have been charged had he been alive.

Scotland Yard said no checks were made to see if Zalkalns had any overseas convictions because it was not the force's policy to do so.

However, detectives said even if the conviction had been known about it was "very unlikely" Zalkalns would have been deported.

Alice's family said: "Losing Alice has left a hole in our lives that can never be filled. But our questions about why the authorities knew nothing about her murderer, despite his previous conviction and arrest, can and should be answered. We hope the coroner will agree.

"We believe in freedom of movement and human rights, as did Alice, and we repeat our request that her death not be appropriated by those with an anti-immigration agenda."

A full inquest into the death is due to be held at the end of November or the beginning of December, and Senior Coroner Chinyere Inyama reserved judgment on whether it would be a jury inquest.

He is expected to hand down his ruling on the scope of the inquest within 21 days.




6th July 2015